Paper No. 130-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
LIVE/DEAD COMPARISONS OF OSTRACODES IN TEMPERATE LAKES REVEAL EVIDENCE OF HUMANS: LOW FIDELITY IN IMPACTED LAKES, BUT HIGH FIDELITY IN REMEDIATED LAKES
Lake ecosystems face a multitude of environmental threats including: eutrophication, overfishing, and heavy metal pollution. Tools to identify lakes impacted by human activity and quantify that impact are needed to combat their environmental degradation. One such promising tool has been the comparison between living communities and associated time-averaged death assemblages of mollusks in marine environments. Here we extend the reach of such live/dead comparisons using ostracodes in temperate lakes. We sampled six lakes in Wisconsin for living communities and associated death assemblages of ostracodes: two lakes impacted by human activity, two relatively “pristine” lakes, and two remediated lakes. We took sixteen grab samples of the upper centimeter of sediment in each lake, capturing simultaneously living benthic ostracodes and discarded valves of dead ostracodes. We found that impacted lakes had lower live/dead fidelity in taxonomic composition and rank-order abundance distributions and greater within-lake variation in death assemblages than “pristine” lakes. Additionally, the living communities in the impacted lakes tended to be lower in species richness and have lower evenness than “pristine” lakes. Remediated lakes displayed similar live/dead fidelity in taxonomic composition and rank-abundance distributions to “pristine” lakes and had lower within-lake variation in death assemblages than impacted lakes. Remediated lakes also contained living communities that tended to be richer and more even than impacted lakes. The lower live/dead fidelity of ostracodes in impacted lakes indicate live/dead ostracode comparisons can provide a tool to identify lake ecosystems impacted by humans. The similar results of remediated and “pristine” lakes indicate remediation efforts in these lakes have been successful in alleviating environmental impact detrimental to ostracode communities. This result indicates live/dead comparisons of ostracodes can be a useful tool to monitor the progress of remediation efforts already underway. Further work will focus on dating the upper centimeter of sediment in these lakes to provide an estimate of how long it takes for death assemblages to accumulate and thus how long it will take to regain high live/dead fidelity in impacted lakes undergoing remediation.